Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

As Always

I wrote this about ten years ago, but it chimes with today's front page story in the Sunday Times about Stephen Byers- former minister of State in the Blair government- offering himself to big business as- in his own words- "a cab for hire". It was ever thus. Walpole was the first British prime minister- and massively corrupt, but maybe the bribed and the bribeable make kindlier masters than the sea-green incorruptibles. It's an argument, anyway- and I'm quite fond of playing Devil's advocate...

WALPOLE

 

If we’d praise peace we must praise corruption-

For men love glory and war and have to be

Bribed from both. You hang up your helmet,

Your breastplate and pistols and plan a parterre

For which you’ll need money.  And here is Walpole,

Who pays himself hugely for paying off others,

To feed you the stuff.  So deals that are frankly

Disgusting get done over claret and beef

In order that wonderful  temples of virtue

May rise on knolls and the make-believe peasants

In broad-brimmed sun hats and low cut smocks

May pass round the flask as they rest from mowing.


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